Democratic incumbents in 6th face tough test


Three incumbents in the Maryland House of Delegates will be tested in Tuesday's primary election by seven challengers in the 6th District on Baltimore County's east side.

Three Republicans will face the winners of Tuesday's election in November.

Dels. John S. Arnick, 68, and Joseph J. "Sonny" Minnick, 69, both of Dundalk, are on the district's ticket, which is headed by state Sen. Norman R. Stone Jr., who is unopposed and entering his 40th year as a lawmaker.

The other incumbent, Jacob J. Mohorovic Jr., 51, is seeking his third term in the House. Mohorovic was invited to join a slate headed by Stone, including Arnick and Minnick, but he declined.

The 6th District includes Essex, three precincts in Dundalk and a piece of Rosedale.

For Arnick, of Dundalk, the issues revolve around the state regaining a solid financial foothold and erasing the deficit. He also wants to promote public education and to "get regulators off the backs of small business in Maryland."

Minnick feels the greatest challenge for the county's eastern end is continuing the revitalization efforts in areas such as Essex and in his home turf. Jobs, quality of life and better education follow a successful economic development program, he said.

Mohorovic said he wants to help community groups to organize and have greater influence in Towson and Annapolis. The Dundalk resident also wants to focus more resources on public safety, which continues to be a concern in several east county neighborhoods.

The challengers

To most of the challengers, the issues resonating among voters include community revitalization, improving schools and making the Chesapeake Bay and nearby rivers and creeks cleaner and safer.

A.J. Bierman, 55, of Essex owns a mulch and garden center in Rosedale. He would like to start a course for those who quit high school, continue an aggressive economic development program and restore the Back River to life.

Attorney Bill Batton, 37, of Dundalk, wants to limit the number of Section 8 housing tenants in the district, be responsive to constituent's needs and have the county continue east-side revitalization efforts.

Christopher Campbell, 34, is an auto mechanic in Essex. His said his formula to get elected is to create jobs, reward and retain effective and passionate public school teachers and care for the needs of senior citizens by offering better prescription plans.

C. O. "Buddy" Staigerwald Jr., 38, of Millers Island is a master electrician with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and is president of the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department. "I'd like to see revitalization continue, upgrade the schools insofar as academic performance and provide better health care to the elderly," he said.

Russ Mirabile, 55, of Rosdale is a litigation specialist and businessman who jokes that he has one important endorsement, "my mother." He is in favor of protecting the retirement fund of tens of thousands of former Bethlehem Steel plant workers and the death penalty and doesn't want to raise taxes.

Rodney J. Donald Jr., 30, of Essex, works as a pipe fitter at Bethlehem Steel and has some union support. He would like to work to reduce crime, get more money for public education and protect the environment.

Michael H. Weir Jr., 54, of Essex is a captain in the Baltimore County Fire Department and would like to fill the vacancy left when his father retired after 24 years in the legislature.

"I want to keep the commitment going on the area's revitalization, enhance academic performance in our schools and stay active protecting the environment," he said.

GOP candidates

On the Republican side, Jane Brooks, Bruce Laing and Paul M. Blitz are the only three candidates, so they will automatically run in the November general election.

Brooks, 51, of Dundalk is a grandmother whose campaign boosts simplicity and values. Laing, 48, of Essex owns the Island View Waterfront Inn. One of his priorities is preservation of the district's peninsulas. Blitz, 39, of Essex is a private school teacher. One of his concerns is the high cancer rate of the county's east side, he said.

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